In a day full of colour – from rich crimson flower arrangements with pops of bleeding blood oranges to a three course meal of kingfish, duck, and cannoli graced with the presence of the ever colourful Lucio Galletto OAM – Redbelly Citrus marked the start of the blood orange season with One bloody big seasonal feast at one of Sydney’s most revered Italian restaurants Lucio’s in Paddington.
Nicole Bampton, head chef of the Two Hatted Restaurant, crafted the three course menu using the first pick of Redbelly’s 2016 crop to highlight the distinct raspberry notes showing in the fruit this year. “At Lucio’s we follow the season, not the fashion, so we were absolutely delighted to partner Redbelly to craft a menu to showcase an in-season fruit that really excites me,” says Nicole.
“Aside from being incredibly beautiful, blood oranges are great fun to work with. They have a complex flavour profile – they’re just as sweet as a navel, but they have an added tartness that balances the sweetness making them perfect for sweet or savoury dishes. They also exhibit many different berry-like flavours that come through depending on the season and growing conditions.”
Grown in the heart of the Riverina where climatic conditions are closest to those of Sicily, Redbelly blood oranges have a distinct flavour that is very reminiscent of Sicilian blood oranges. More so than blood oranges grown in other regions of Australia.
Len Mancini, director of Redbelly Citrus and third generation citrus farmer, explains that the growing region is the best indication of the quality and intensity of a blood orange: “Contrary to common belief, the external colour or blush on the skin is not a good indicator of internal colour. The best predictor of good internal colour is the region they are grown in.
“We’ve had a bumper season and encourage chefs, mixologists and home cooks to get them on their menu! They are unbelievably delicious with the added bonus of being incredibly good for you as the only citrus fruit to contain anthocyanins, which have been proven to have a range of health benefits, including countering the effects of UV damage, pollution and even the effects of poor diets that would otherwise lead to obesity and other metabolic syndromes.”
The season launch titled ‘One bloody big seasonal feast’ wooed diners with a fresh first course of Crudo di Pesce – kingfish carpaccio with blood orange segments, fennel, verjus, watercress and olives with a blood orange dressing. The main – Anatra all’Arancia featured a classic combination of orange and duck. Succulent duck marinated in blood orange juice served with grilled radicchio, roasted beetroot and a blood orange sauce. And to finish the feast, diners noshed on Cannoli di Cioccolato– thin, crisp chocolate cannoli shells filled with a light blood orange mousse served with a chocolate blood orange sauce.
Lucio Galletto OAM addressed the crowd introducing each course, explaining the flavour pairings. He also shared his love of blood oranges that stretches back to his childhood in Italy. William Grant & Sons also joined the festivities with Solerno brand ambassador Evonne Eadie mixing up various blood orange cocktail flavour combinations to accompany the meal including their signature drink the Solerno Serata on arrival and a Solerno Blood Orange Espresso Martini served with dessert.
Blood oranges are available now through to November from farmers’ markets and greengrocers.